Live Review: The Polyphonic Spree – Liverpool

The Polyphonic Spree

The Arts Club, Liverpool, 15th September 2015

polyphonic spree live liverpool sept 15Words: Gary Lambert

Photos: Gaz Jones

Do you ever feel so perfectly happy that you think you might die from happiness and enjoyment and a moment too powerful for a human body and soul to cope with? That is what the first half of The Polyphonic Spree’s gig in Liverpool did to me. If you have never seen The Polyphonic Spree, please, please, please go to see them the next time they are in your town or city. Or travel to the nearest town or city they are playing at and go to see them. It is the greatest musical celebration of love that you can experience. Not dirty, sexy love; not the possessive love of materialism; but the purest love that humans can share en masse together to celebrate the fact that every coin toss has gone our way and we are born and warm and exist.

This has been a special tour for The Polyphonic Spree as they celebrate the wonderful The Beginning Stages Of, their debut album. The band came together for this album as a way of uniting after the suicide of a close friend. This album came to me in the darkest days of my life and helped me through the worst times by being an instant link to sunshine and joy and wonder. So to be honest tonight it was personal. And as Tim Delaughter lead the gang with his voice and subtle conducting of their musicianship, I danced and bawled my eyes out through It’s the Sun the second song on the album and on the set. This album and indeed the first half of the night are wonderful because it is a complete piece of music. Yes, it is made up of ten separate songs, but when they are together they make each other even more. And whilst every song has a beginning and an end, it feels like continuous piece of music with each interlude a breath between lines.

Despite the fact that rarely a season goes by without an airing of The Beginning Stages somewhere in my life, hearing it live felt new and fresh. Yes, there were slight differences and tweaks, no band is going to play a track exactly as recorded unless they’re on Top of The Pops. I recognised notes and backing vocals that I had rubbed out from over listening, it was magical and mystical as trumpet, trombone, cello and the choir joined in your standard rocket up.

the polyphonic spree live liv sept 15The second half of the set was made up of songs from the band’s more recent output. The theme of love continues over and over. Indeed the opening song was called Love and one particular word was repeated quite a lot. Younger Yesterday sounded a brilliant disco number and then King finished then nominal set in quite frankly ridiculously good fashion. Sweetly, we then stopped for the presentation of a birthday cake to cellist Buffi Jacobs with mass singalong from the audience.

Once the candles were blown out we got to the finale of the show and what a way to finish. Firstly came a reprise of some of the most powerful parts of The Beginning Stages of and then the happiest band on earth took one of the greatest snarling rock songs and turned it into a song made for The Polyphonic Spree as they covered Nirvana’s Lithium. There are so many lyrics in the song which when sung by a Texan filled with joy they take on a different spin from desperation to empathy, “I love you, I’m not gonna crack”. Tim Delaughter joined the audience to sing this and for the chorus got everybody to drop to their haunches and then spring up in joyful abandon. Strangers were hugged, smiles were exchanged and the dark side of life did not matter for the only thing we needed then was to be followers of The Polyphonic Spree.

For a band formed due to a suicide, it was apt to finish on a song written by a talented man for whom life became too much. Remember, if you are feeling dark thoughts there are always people who want to help you. Sometimes you might not even know these people, but we all have love together to share, so don’t stay strong but do stay as someone will be on their way. You will find your Polyphonic Spree, your theme from Rocky, your friend you have never met before and then the sun will make you shine.


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